We will all go there
According to Ikaharin's native religion, Akaina is the multi-leveled land of the dead, where the spirits of the deceased reside. Those who believe in this place say that all people end up there and cannot escape, regardless of whether they are rich, poor, good or bad (although this doesn't mean one can no longer interact with them).''One's crimes,They don't matter-One's deeds,They are in vain-Nothing,Nothing mattersFor we all finish there-The rich,They are in gray-The poor,They are in gray-No one,No one escapesFor that place is for all''.-popular funerary poem
''Back in the ancient days, there was much chaos in the whole of Creation, for there was no order to be found. Up was down, the Sun rose in the west, the dead were with the living and nothing was divided or on its proper place. Eventually the transgressions became too many and the good too scarce, the word itself being forgotten by the misguided inhabitants of the land. Thus Nature started to act once more, and created the 4 worlds and 12 realms, so there could be order. Lastly, Akaina was formed. Below the roots of the Earth and the endless abyss the dead were given a place of their own, a gray land so familiar yet so alien''.-3 paragraphs from The Creation of Order
About your eternal stay
''As bleak and miserable as Akaina may be, at least you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that everyone will go there and suffer the same bleak and miserable existence as you! This may be the only place where we are all equal...''The dead and the living are essentially identical according to Ikaharin's native beliefs, as both have feelings and the same basic needs to fulfill (such as eating and drinking), the only real difference being that the former won't die if said needs go unfulfilled for too long. Instead what will happen is that sensations such as hunger and thirst will keep increasing over time, until the deceased satisfies them or they become infinitely strong, causing unlimited suffering. It should also be noted that Riuanharin is not a place of boundless abundance and endless resources where wine flows on the rivers and the snow is made of sugar, in fact quite the opposite is true, Akaina is a harsh and unforgiving place. This means this land's inhabitants have to either work to harvest food and resources from the environment or rely on whatever they brought with them from the world of the living (as well as whatever may be offered to them later). Besides that there are also many dangers spread all across this plane of existence, from monsters to bottomless pits and from water demons to forests where one may get lost forever. Threats which the fallen will most likely have to face without the company of their friends and relatives, as the only way to ensure two people arrive there at the same time is by killing them at the same time.-a commoner's thoughts
To make things easier
''-What do I hear! Your dearest daughter is on her deathbed? Oh, tragedy! Why do children have to die so often and young? And all before experiencing the pleasures of life... Anyways, let me at least try to ease your pain by introducing you to the most trustworthy dainnau I know. -Hi there! Now, let's be blunt, you don't want your daughter to face the many dangers of Riuanharin on her own, right? Just think of how poorly a child would do there! Oh, her wailing could be heard from here, I have no doubt. So yes, yes, come and let us determine what should you give her for this last journey, I assure you the price will be as good as possible, I've always had a soft spot for children''.As Akaina is an extremely dangerous place, people take a lot of measures and do as much as they can to ensure their (and their loved ones') stay there is as good as possible, from learning spells to buying sacred talismans. A thing everybody does is placing all their belongings and supplies for several days inside their tomb, for it is believed whatever items are inside it will accompany the deceased. Furthermore, it is common practice to build a small altar on top of the grave, where any future offerings may be deposited. From the Eyes of Nan to the Sacred Boat and the Four Retainers, something that is also near universal is purchasing sacred objects which are designed to help the traveller in their afterlife. Some of these are seen as largely optional, while others are considered essential to the journey.-dainnau and his assistant selling mortuary goods
''May the kuwar marin find him in Riwanharin and ease his burden...''Luckily for those who are too poor to afford buying the dozens of relics necessary to live comfortably in Akaina, the Gray Realm is not only inhabited by demons and monsters, as there are also many beings (the kuwar marin) eager to help the deceased. However, one would be wrong to assume that the kuwar marin aid the travellers based on their behaviour, appearance or any such things, as they do so entirely at random, and are as likely to help a king as they are a baker.
The Three Realms
''What's the point in dividing Akaina into 3 realms? All of them are equally horrible and depressing!''A common theme all across Ikaharinese Cosmology, Akaina is divided into three realms, each with its own characteristics and unique challenges. These levels are often represented in religious texts and art as concentric circles.
''Hear me! Hear me! Those who will die must hear my wisdom, for I know what awaits them! Great doors will open, and the fallen will be greeted by the sunset sky, a frozen sky, a weeping sky. Below, they will see a barren desert, one of burning sand, black sand''.Hiranharin is Riuanharin's central, and smallest, disk and where all the dead start in. Once the traveller crosses the Twin Gates, the border between this plane of existence and our own, they are confronted by several contradictions, from burning hot sand moved by frozen winds to eternal rain which comes from an eternally cloudless sky and does not nourish any life, as this whole land is a desert. Furthermore, no food eaten here will satiate the hunger, nothing drunk here will quench the thirst and nothing touched here will feel real, not even one's own body. The pain caused by not having eaten or drunk in weeks and the insanity derived from the land's extreme surrealism are, however, not the worst that can afflict the traveller, as countless monsters hide deep inside the sand or far up in the sky.-beginning of Gray Verses
''Hear me! Hear me! Those who will die must hear my wisdom, for I know what awaits them! Great dunes will be climbed, and the traveller will see a gray river, one so vast the other shore hides far into the horizon, one so deep it knows no bottom and one so furious no man may swim on its waters''.Divided from Hiranharin by a gray, saltwater river which can only be traversed with the help of either a sacred boat (with which the deceased must have been buried) or the kind aid of a kuwar marin, Halharin is the second disk of Riuanharin and home to an extraordinary landscape. Here the sky turns from orange to a dark gray, as thick storm clouds fill it completely and light becomes much dimmer, and the rain becomes much more intense, like that of a great storm. Besides that, an ever denser blanket of fog constantly hovers over the ground. From trees so tall they make even the mightiest redwood look like a blade of grass to mountains that stretch so far up they don't have a peak and from bottomless cliffs to caves so deep echoes take weeks to return, Halharin is fabled in myth and tale for its extremes. Luckily for the traveller, here the basic needs can be fulfilled and one's touch doesn't feel odd. Unluckily for them, however, this land is home to things such as screaming caves, whispering demons and forests where one cannot leave.-the Gray Verses
''Hear me! Hear me! Those who will die must hear my wisdom, for I know what awaits them! Great tunnels will be abandoned and the fallen will emerge from the ground, like plants in spring. However, this spring will see no colour, for all around them there will be a vast swamp, a gray swamp, a bleak swamp''.Divided from Halharin by a ring of infinitely tall mountains which can only be traversed through a tunnel, Iekarharin is the outermost disk of Akaina and the one where there are less people, as barely anyone gets that far or is willing to enter this bleak place. Here the sky becomes a tone of gray so dark most people think it's black, the rain so intense it is almost drowning and the fog so dense it can almost be touched. This combines to make visibility almost non-existent. Furthermore, this realm is half flooded swamp, with the ground often being either muddy or underwater, with countless trees jutting out of the marshes below and deep into the gray skies. The fallen are somewhat lucky, though, as fish and birds are not scarce, should one be able to see them. However, many dangers, from endlessly deep sinkholes to water monsters and even man-eating monkeys, fill this region, eager to make one's stay here as miserable as possible.-the Gray Verses
''Hear me! Hear me! Those who will die must hear my wisdom, for I know what awaits them! Those who keep going, past the swamp, past the demons and trees, will find the Edge. Should they go further they will enter Acannin, the End''.Should someone keep walking towards the edge of Riuanharin, they would find its edge, a massive wall made of water. If one manages to cross it, they would find Acannin, a desolate, dark and empty realm, one where everything dissolves into nothingness, some say even oneself.-the Gray Verses
Riwanharin, the Gray Realm
- From offerings to them to asking them for insight, the ancestors are fairly important in Ikaharin's culture.
- Nature is not a deity, per se, it is more accurate to describe it as a force that is behind everything, creating, destroying and rearranging.
- Poor commoners often say
''Statues break, spells are forgotten and people forget your name. So eventually even the richest man will be in the same conditions as the poorest farmer''.
to the rich
- The most impressive tombs are so large they resemble underground palaces with a full temple on top, entirely dedicated to the spirit of whoever lies beneath.
- It is fairly common for things in Ikaharinese Cosmology to be divided into 3 or 4.
- There is neither Sun nor Moon on Akaina, and the sky in Hiranharin is devoid of stars as well.
- It is believed that all the water that falls to the ground on Earth is turned into rain in Akaina.
- Even if most people believe there is no ultimate goal or destination in Riuanharin, those who do think so believe reaching Acannin is the ultimate purpose of the journey, where they will finally cease to exist and be free from all suffering and pain.
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